Cacti are actually a whole family of plants, cactiwhich belong to the group of the succulents. It is a family that has its origin in America, with a small exception in the tropical zone of Africa. Its most distinctive features are its ability to store water in the stem and its natural defense in the form of thorns. They are highly appreciated plants in gardening and decoration, since their shapes are as characteristic as they are attractive and, in addition, they require very little care.
If you want to learn how to plant cacti in your own garden or home, in a pot or in the ground, join us for this interesting gardening guide from EcologíaVerde on how to plant cacti.
How to plant cactus in a pot – step by step
As with most succulents, cacti can be propagated by planting seeds, but it is much more common to do so by cuttings or suckers. This is because a cactus seed can take a long time to develop as these are slow growing plants.
Instead, many cacti produce suckers that you just have to separate from the mother plant, and if you take a cutting, it has a good chance of developing well in a short time and the mother plant will continue to develop without problems. Because of this, we explain below how to transplant or plant cacti for their suckers, cuttings or do it directly with recently bought cacti, for which it is almost always necessary to change the container and substrate, since the process will be the same. It is necessary to use thick gardening gloves to handle these plants, thus protecting us from their thorns. The best time to plant a cutting is at the beginning of the warm season, from mid-spring. Once all this is clear, follow these steps to plant a potted cactus:
- Cut the cuttings with a very sharp and disinfected knife, or separate the suckers of the mother plant trying not to break its roots. A fork can be helpful to gently pry it up from below. If it’s a cutting, let it dry for a week before planting it. If it is a sucker, you can plant it immediately after carefully cleaning its roots of soil debris.
- Prepare the pot and, for this, keep in mind that you do not need a container much larger than the plant, but it is very important that the substrate used offers the best possible drainage. The best material for cacti are clay containers, which breathe and allow better air circulation and even humidity.
- Use specific substrate for succulents, or prepare your own with a bed of gravel in the bottom of the pot and a base of coconut fiber. Make sure the container has drainage holes. Gravel or coarse sand will prevent the substrate from going through them but will make it easier for the water to come out.
- plant the cactus, that is, its cutting or sucker. Do not do it too deep, since it is not convenient for its stem to be too buried, and place it in a lighted spot but protected from both the cold and the direct sun.
- sprinkler irrigationin small amounts but frequently, during the first two weeks, always without flooding or moistening too much.
If you plant the cactus seedsfollow the same process to bury the seeds and wait for the plant to grow. sowing in springdo not overwater and be very patient.
To learn more about the process of planting cacti and their cuttings, we recommend this other gardening guide from EcologíaVerde on How to reproduce cacti by cuttings.
How to plant cacti in soil – tips
Follow the steps indicated above to plant cacti and keep these in mind tips for planting cacti in soil when you get down to it.
- Many cacti can be planted outdoors, but it is necessary to pay attention to the specific characteristics of each species and the local climate. Keep in mind that not everyone is able to withstand the cold or humidity of certain climates.
- In any case, the procedure to follow is the same as when planting them in a pot, being here even more important that the cacti have a very well aerated soil with effective drainagesince we will not be able to control both the risks, especially if it rains.
- Ideally, you should prepare a depth of at least 20 cm in a zone of soil with soil suitable for cacti. You can prepare it yourself with washed river sand, peat and perlite, roughly equal parts.
- If you live in a very hot climate, remember not to place your cacti where they receive direct light during the most intense sunlight hours, since most of them can become stressed or burn.
Cactus care – basic guide
These plants tend not to be very demanding in their care, but even so, it is better to take into account some basic points of the cacti care:
- Land: this is the most important, as we have already said. Its soil or substrate is the point that will most influence the proper development of our cactus, and it must be light and loose, without caking to provide good drainage. Learn how to make substrate for cacti and succulents in this other post.
- Irrigation: in the cold months, it is enough to water the cacti approximately every 15 days. In hot ones, do it only when the substrate is dry.
- Light: these plants need a bright environment, but many will not tolerate very intense direct sun well.
- Pass: Fertilize your cacti with a specific fertilizer every 15 days in the warm months. In the cold months, you do not need to do this at all.
- Transplant: About every 2-3 years, your cacti will need a transplant. You’ll know it’s time when its roots poke through the pot’s drainage holes. Learn more tips about this process here: When and how to transplant a cactus and in this video.
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